What Do Chinese Eat Around Thanksgiving

What Do Chinese Eat Around Thanksgiving? Culinary Guide

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

During autumn, as the leaves change color to red and gold, numerous American households partake in a special feast known as Thanksgiving. However, how do people in China typically spend this season?

Well, Thanksgiving is not a traditional holiday in China, but because of the mix of cultures, some Chinese families make interesting and tasty food.

So, what do Chinese eat around Thanksgiving? As someone who loves exploring different cultures, I researched the foods Chinese families cooked during that holiday.

Keep reading as I share how Chinese Thanksgiving dinners blend old traditions with new ideas. 

10 Delicious Foods That Chinese Eat During Thanksgiving

1. Sesame Turkey 

Sesame Chicken on a Plate

Sesame turkey and drunken chicken are Chinese-inspired alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving roast turkey. 

“Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude.” 

Nigel Hamilton, British Biographer

The turkey is marinated in a delicious sesame oil sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and other aromatic spices, then slow-cooked until soft.

Find out which state eats turkey the most during Thanksgiving here.

2. Drunken Chicken

Drunken chicken involves marinating chicken in Chinese rice wine, ginger, and scallions [1], creating a unique and slightly boozy flavor. 

These dishes blend American and Chinese culinary elements, making them a perfect addition to a Chinese-American Thanksgiving feast.

3. Garden Stir-Fry 

Thanksgiving often calls for various side dishes, and Chinese families enjoy adding a garden stir-fry to their table. 

This vibrant dish consists of a medley of fresh vegetables stir-fried to perfection, typically paired with a homemade stir-fry sauce that elevates the flavors. 

Find out what the Chinese eat around Christmas here.

4. Chinese Pickled Cabbage

With its tangy and slightly spicy profile, Chinese pickled cabbage complements the stir-fry beautifully. The crunch of pickled cabbage adds a delightful contrast to the stir-fry’s textures.

5. Steamed Dumplings

Steamed dumplings, a beloved Chinese classic, are a delightful appetizer that can appear on the Thanksgiving table. 

These dumplings are often filled with ground meat and vegetables seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. 

The result is a burst of umami and savory flavors, perfect for whetting the appetite before the main feast.

6. Honey-Hoisin Sweet Potatoes 

Honey-Hoisin Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, and Chinese cuisine brings a unique twist to this classic side dish. 

Honey-hoisin sweet potatoes involve roasting sweet potato halves in a delectable mixture of honey, hoisin sauce, olive oil, and salt.

7. Szechuan Eggplant

Szechuan eggplant, known for its bold and spicy flavors, is another noteworthy addition to the Chinese-inspired Thanksgiving menu. 

Eggplant [2] is stir-fried with a fiery Szechuan sauce, creating a dish that adds a zesty kick to the holiday spread. But what do people in Australia eat on Christmas?

8. Ginger-Pumpkin Meringue Pie

For dessert, Chinese-American households often indulge in a pumpkin meringue Pie. 

This dessert takes the classic pumpkin pie to new heights by incorporating ground ginger into the filling. 

The ginger adds warmth and depth to the pie, while the meringue topping provides a light and airy contrast. But how many pumpkin pies are consumed during Thanksgiving?

9. Oyster Omelette

Oyster omelet, a beloved Taiwanese dish, often finds its way onto the tables of Chinese-American families during Thanksgiving. 

This savory delight features plump oysters mixed into a batter of sweet potato starch and eggs, creating a delightful contrast of textures. 

“For Chinese-Americans, Thanksgiving is a time when we bring the flavors of both worlds together—a cultural potluck that’s as diverse as our nation itself.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Pan-fried to crispy perfection, the omelet is typically served with a savory and slightly tangy sauce made from garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar. 

10. Sticky Rice Stuffing

Sticky Rice Stuffing on a Pan

In Chinese-American Thanksgiving celebrations, sticky rice stuffing is a creative twist on the traditional stuffing. 

This dish features glutinous rice, often soaked and steamed to a perfect stickiness, mixed with Chinese sausage, mushrooms, chestnuts, and a medley of aromatic herbs and spices.

Related Posts:

What Would Be The Version Of Thanksgiving In Chinese?

In China, the equivalent of Thanksgiving can be found in the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival (Zhōng Qiū Jié). 

This festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, typically occurring in September or October on the solar calendar. 

Much like Thanksgiving in American culture, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for families to come together and give thanks. 

It is considered a harvest festival, focusing on celebrating the year’s bounty and expressing gratitude for the harvest. 

Families gather to share mooncakes, a symbolic and delicious treat, making this festival a Chinese version of Thanksgiving. But do Muslims always celebrate Thanksgiving?

How Do Chinese-American Families Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Chinese-American families celebrate Thanksgiving by combining American and Chinese foods. 

While many Americans have turkey, some Chinese-American kids prefer a special soup called beef noodle soup. It makes them feel at home during the holiday. 

So, on their tables, you might find both turkey and dishes like dim sum, which are small, tasty bites. 

Find out the only place in Australia that celebrates Thanksgiving here.


What do people from other cultures eat on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is celebrated worldwide with unique culinary twists. In Thailand, Thai turkey meatballs add a spicy flair, while Sweden enjoys Hasselback potatoes. 

In Mexico, turkey mole chili is a favorite with its rich chocolate-infused sauce. 

But what are the other three countries that celebrated Thanksgiving?

What is the most unusual food eaten on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving sees some unique dishes, but among the most unusual are sweet potato and marshmallow, ambrosia salad, and strawberry pretzel salad. 

These unexpected additions to the traditional feast offer a sweet and surprising twist for those seeking culinary adventure during the holiday.

Final Remarks

Around Thanksgiving, it’s fascinating to see how Chinese cuisine blends seamlessly with the traditional American feast. 

Sesame turkey, bathed in a savory sauce of sesame oil, soy, ginger, and garlic, adds a flavorful twist to the classic roast. 

With its tang and crunch, Chinese-pickled cabbage pairs beautifully with garden stir-fry.

But the star of the show? Ginger-pumpkin meringue pie. The ginger-infused pumpkin filling gives your taste buds an autumn taste, and the meringue topping is the fluffy icing on the cake.

As someone who’s tasted this mixture firsthand, I can tell you that combining these flavors is like a culinary adventure. It’s a Thanksgiving worth savoring.


Kimberlee Johnson
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